Vol. 5 Num 1087 Fri. June 22, 2007  
Front Page

Confession in Court
Selim shared extortion money with Hasina

Detained Awami League (AL) leader Sheikh Fazlul Karim Selim yesterday confessed to a metropolitan magistrate that he shared with former prime minister and AL chief Sheikh Hasina Tk 2.99 crore he extorted from the managing director of a power company.

Details of his confessional statement given to Metropolitan Magistrate ABM Abdul Fattah in the extortion case could not however be known.

Azam J Chowdhury, managing director of Eastcoast Trading Private Ltd, filed the case against Hasina and her cousin Selim with Gulshan Police Station on June 13 for extorting over Tk 2.99 crore.

Selim was shown arrested in the case on June 14 and placed on a two-day remand on June 18.

On expiry of the remand, Obaidul Haque, officer-in-charge of Gulshan Police Station and also investigation officer of the case, produced Selim before Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Jalal Ahmed. He assigned Fattah to record Selim's confessional statement.

The AL presidium member, arrested on May 29, was brought to the magistrate's chamber at 3:40pm and taken away at 6:00pm after his statement was recorded.

Selim's lawyers however raised questions over this since he was not given three hours to think about confession before his statement was recorded.

His counsel Kamrul Islam submitted a petition to the magistrate saying that his client's confessional statement was not recorded lawfully.

In the FIR, Azam mentioned that Shiekh Hasina's cousin former lawmaker Sheikh Selim had tried to be the local agent of Russian company Techno Prom Export (TPE). On different occasions, Selim tried to influence the TPE chief to agree to this but failed, he added.

The AL leader then started putting pressure on Azam and he met Selim at his Banani residence with the proposal of appointing him as consultant for the second phase of their work. He told Selim that he would be given a large amount of commission during the phase, the FIR said.

Angry over the proposal, Selim threatened to stop the work with the help of Hasina ( the then prime minister) if he did not get commission, the complainant said. Meetings for a negotiation over the deal took place at Selim's residence.

Selim also threatened that Azam would not be able to withdraw any bill from the PDB if he did not pay him commission. The threats were issued in June and July, 2000, the complainant said.

In July, 2000, they reached a verbal accord on paying him (Selim) two per cent commission amounting $5.8 lakh (equivalent to a little over Tk 2.99 crore), Azam complained. The money was paid at Selim's residence in eight cheques of Standard Chartered Bank and Southeast Bank from October 24, 2000 to February 14, 2001.

Selim did not interfere with the work after getting commission. Many people including executives of his company are aware of payment of commission to Selim, the complainant said.

Sheikh Fazlul Karim Selim